Journalists To Stage Walkout On Monday Against Gannett Co., Inc. – Parent Company Of The Arizona Republic

Oliver Darcy reports for CNN’s Reliable Sources, Journalists at the nation’s largest newspaper chain are walking off the job in a showdown with its CEO:

The biggest newspaper chain in the country is about to be rocked by the biggest walkout of its staff in history.

On Monday, hundreds of Gannett journalists plan to stage a one-day strike during the media company’s annual shareholder meeting. Their message: Gannett needs new leadership.

The journalists want shareholders to take a vote of no-confidence against Mike Reed, Gannett’s chief executive. The NewsGuild-CWA, the union that represents more than 1,000 employees and dozens of bargaining units, has argued Reed has hollowed out newsrooms as a result of “misplaced priorities.”

“Reed doesn’t care one bit about a long-term strategy to invest in the company by investing in journalists,” NewsGuild President Jon Schleuss said in a biting statement. “They need support and resources to make sure our communities have the local news needed to keep our democracy thriving. Instead, Reed’s singular focus has been on stuffing his own pockets. Reed has overstayed his welcome at Gannett and needs to go.”

The walkout Monday will see participation from 24 Gannett newspapers across seven states, notably the Arizona Republic, Austin American-Statesman, Rochester Democrat & Chronicle, and the Palm Beach Post. The NewsGuild-CWA said that some newsrooms will strike for as long as two days.

Morale at Gannett has not been great over the course of the last year. The company executed what it described as “incredibly difficult” layoffs in December, axing hundreds of jobs as it targeted 6% of roles in its news division.

The cuts came amid challenging industry headwinds. Gannett’s share price has fallen dramatically in recent years as print revenue has declined and the advertising market has weakened. While it has tried to pivot its business toward digital subscriptions, the efforts have simply not been enough.

In a Thursday statement, Gannett referenced some of the industry challenges it has faced and strongly contested the allegations the NewsGuild-CWA are leveling against it.

“During a very challenging time for our industry and economy, Gannett strives to provide competitive wages, benefits, and meaningful opportunities for all our valued employees,” a Gannett spokesperson said. “Our leadership is focused on investing in local newsrooms and monetizing our content as we continue to negotiate fairly and in good faith with the NewsGuild.

“Despite the anticipated work stoppage in some of our markets, there will be no disruption to our content or ability to deliver trusted news,” the spokesperson added. “Our goal is to preserve journalism and serve our communities across the country as we bargain to finalize contracts.”

Some of the reporters who lead their local unions at the company’s newspapers across the country, however, disagree.

“I pour my heart and soul into the work that I do, but love of the work doesn’t pay the bills,” Cheryl Makin, a reporter for Home News Tribune, said in a statement. “We need leadership that will respect our work and provide us with the wages, benefits, and staffing we need to do our jobs well for the long term.”

“We’re paid so little that many of my Gannett colleagues need public assistance or private charity just to get by,” added Kaitlyn Kanzler, a reporter for The Record. “This is no way to run a news company.”

The Arizona Republic has been reduced to a shadow of its former self.  It produces only a fraction of the news content it once produced, and its editorial page sucks with right-wing provocateur and MAGA apologist Phil Boas replacing the pseudo-intellectual Libertarian Robert Robb last year. At least Robb occasionally would make a good point before proceeding to his Republican apologist shtick.

And why does Jon Gabriel, the editor-in-chief of right-wing blog have a regular column as well? Where is the “fair and balanced” editorial page policy? I know the Arizona Republic used to be the Arizona Republican, the mouthpiece of the Arizona Republican Party, but this MAGA apologia, normalizing a political party which is an authoritarian personality cult and the political vehicle for White Christian Nationalism which waged a seditious insurrection against the United States on January 6 and is prepared to do so again, is reprehensible and unacceptable.

Every news organization has a sacred duty to defend American democracy, not give voice to those who seek to destroy it. Paid subscribers should demand better.

Support the NewsGuild-CWA journalists against the evil Gannett Co., Inc.

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1 thought on “Journalists To Stage Walkout On Monday Against Gannett Co., Inc. – Parent Company Of The Arizona Republic”

  1. Guessing that neither Gannett nor its CEO will even notice the lack of journalists at its “journalism” company.

    I haven’t even read the Republic in years. When it cost $.50/issue, it wasn’t even a bargain at 1/2 the price. Now, it’s worse.

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